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Is your cat getting enough protein?

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By Carol Bryant
 

Protein is a building block that is essential to cats at all stages of life. In general, cats have a high protein requirement, so knowing how much to feed according to age is pivotal.

Since cats cannot synthesize certain amino acids, they require protein in their diets. Essential amino acids are reformed into proteins that help tissues grow. They also repair and regulate the body's metabolic processes.

Always check with your cat's veterinarian before making any nutritional changes.


Kittens

It is true that cats require more protein than dogs. Kittens require more protein (and fats, vitamins, minerals and fats) than adult cats.

In general, feed your little one dry kitten food that contains at least 30 percent protein. Canned kitten food should contain at least 10 percent protein. Kittens eat several times a day until they reach 1 year of age, since they are innate calorie-burners.


Adult Cats

Protein intake for adult cats should equate to about 25-30 percent of the daily caloric intake. Not all proteins are equal; each protein varies in its ability to break down into amino acids.

Cats require taurine, which is found in meat or eggs, as an amino acid. Quality protein sources include chicken, turkey, fish, lamb, beef and eggs.


Senior Cats

Generally, older cats require larger amounts of protein since they absorb and metabolize protein less effectively as they age. A quality, high-protein diet using an animal source is important to senior felines.

Cats that are fed too much protein will excrete it in their urine, but those with kidney damage should be monitored closely for protein consumption. Follow similar guidelines for the protein requirements of an adult cat.

Since a cat's metabolism is different from a dog's, cats also use carbohydrates less effectively than dogs. In turn, cats require more protein in their diets.




Carol Bryant, writer and frequent media contributor, has been featured on Oprah Radio's "The Gayle King Show" and on television shows. She has also been featured as a guest speaker at conferences and seminars. Bryant maintains her own dog blog, FidoseOfReality.com.
 

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